Not a fan of spicy food? With these tips you can handle it

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Are you already yelling ‘WATER!’ if you only think about jalapeños and your mouth is already on fire when you see sambal from the corner of your eye? Yep: typical case of spicy food aversion. Chances are you will only go for the mild curry paste and omit the chili oil from recipes by default. But what if you do want to learn to eat spicy food, for example because you like going to Asian restaurants

Don’t worry,  we’ve got you covered.

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Learning to appreciate spicy food 101

Okay, so. You want to learn to eat spicy. And we appreciate that. We appreciate you. We just need to make sure you appreciate spicy food, but we’re confident in that.

small steps

It may sound a bit silly, but it all boils down to this: Take. Little. steps. Do not order the spiciest of the menu three times in a row, because you will be used to it by the third time. Believe us when we say that all three times will be terrible and you will be traumatized rather than have any other effect.

Then what? Throw a little bit of chili powder through your pasta . A little bit more through your soup . Then a little more through the curry . Some crispy chilli oil through the noodles . And little by little it starts to work – there’s even scientific evidence that you can train your tongue to tolerate the chemical in spicy foods.

Do you know peppers

Now that we’ve had the most logical, we can also give you some tips that fall a little less into the ‘I-could-have-think-of-myself’ category. To start with: one pepper is not like the other. For example, a green chili is less spicy than a red one. A jalapeño is even spicier, and Madame Jeanette is for extreme experts. So just wait a little longer. Don’t miss the small, yellow, round fresh peppers from Albert Heijn.

In general, fresh peppers are nicer to practice with than, for example, chili flakes, because they not only add spice, but also a lot of flavor. That way spicy food becomes a lot less bad. (Unless you rub your eyes after slicing a pepper, of course.)

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Combine spicy with soothing

Have you made an informed choice? Then it is important to always have something non-spicy on your plate.

A dollop of crème frache with your spicy tacos, a fresh raita with an Indian curry or a quick cucumber salad with your noodles, for example. Coconut milk in Asian dishes also makes spicy food a lot softer.

Drink milk, not water

It may help to have a glass of drink next to your plate, but a glass of water is of little use. Milk, on the other hand, does help when your mouth is on fire. However, it may be best to tolerate the burning, because then you will get used to it sooner. (But hey, at least you can have the milk ready. For emergencies.)

Eat a little slower than usual

You may have a tendency to hold your breath and eat your way through the meal as quickly as possible to get rid of it as quickly as possible. But  surprise : that doesn’t make it any easier.

In fact, if you eat more slowly, you give your mouth more of a chance to get ready for another load of spicyness . If you eat faster, on the other hand, the heat in your mouth will only build up. You don’t want that – and neither do we.

Good luck!

Ready for the challenge? Try this spicy food:

  • Spicy cauliflower from the bbq à la Julius Jaspers
  • spicy Asian chicken salad with fried onions
  • Spicy noodle salad with mango and aubergine skewers from the barbecue

Source: Culy by
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